How to Get "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" to Play Faster on an Emulator
Many who have tried using an emulator to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on their computer have run into the same problem: agonizingly slow game-play. Before giving up, try these tips to make the game run faster. While some spots in the game, such as running through Hyrule field, might still run a little slowly, these changes will definitely make the game more playable and enjoyable. Many areas, such as inside temples, will easily run at full speed after applying the following hacks.
Dolphin is the primary emulator for GameCube and Wii games. Instead of using one of the latest versions to play Twilight Princess, however, use Dolphin 3.0. This early version of Dolphin lacks the graphic punch of later versions, but consequently, it will allow a more graphically-complex game like Twilight Princess to play faster. Yes, you are sacrificing graphics for speed, but it might be necessary if the game plays too slowly otherwise. (IMPORTANT!! Be sure to read the UPDATE section below regarding Dolphin 5.0)
Settings for Dolphin
- Click on “Options” at the top of the startup window, and then click on “Configure.” The first tap shows General settings. Make sure both “Enable Duel Core” and “Enable Idle Skipping” are checked. Then, farther down check “JIT Recompiler.” Under the Audio tab, check “DSP HLE Emulation.” Leave the rest on default settings.
- Click again on “Options,” and then go to “Graphics Settings.” Select Direct3D9 next to Backend, and for your Fullscreen Resolution, leave it on the lowest setting (640 x 480). Leave the rest on default settings.
- This next step is very important. Right click on the game in the Dolphin startup window, and then click on “Properties.” At the bottom, you’ll see a button for “Edit Config.” Click on it, and then scroll down to the very bottom. At approximately the fifth to the bottom, you’ll see “EFBToTextureEnable = False.” Delete “False” and type “True” in its place, so that you have “EFBToTextureEnable = True.”
Once again, we are sacrificing graphics for speed, but it’s necessary. If you are using the latest version of Dolphin, this last hack will make the map turn into a useless pixely square, but in 3.0, it’s at least weakly visible. If you look at the screenshots, you will see that the map is faded, but in most locations, you can make it out well enough to get by. You will also notice that the changes we have made so far make the character eyes, rugs, wall hangings, and a few other graphics incomplete (with empty horizontal lines cutting through the graphics). It is a small thing to put up with, however, when the game might be too slow to even play without applying these changes.
If you use Dolphin 5.0 (or a later version, I would imagine), right-click on the game title as you would in the steps above (in your main Dolphin window game list), go to properties, and then look at the "Game Config" tab. Now, near the bottom, you will see a "Hyrule Field Speed Hack" patch enabled. Leave the drop-down next to it on "playable", but now go to the "Patches" tab. MAKE SURE that the "Hyrule Field Speed Hack" is checked (the default might leave it unchecked, as it did on mine). Continue to use the general Dolphin settings outlined above and follow the tips below, but this patch should dramatically speed up game play, especially in notoriously slow Hyrule Field areas.
Other Tips for Faster Game-play in Twilight Princess
- This first tip might seem rather basic, but it can definitely help. Make sure no other programs are running on your computer and that no other windows are open. Also, if you have been running your computer for some time, leave it off or on sleep mode for a while to allow it to cool down and then start fresh. Immediately run Dolphin before opening anything, including your browser. This can easily make the difference between the game running slower or faster. Also, make sure you are not approaching the limit on storage space, and do maintenance such as running CCleaner, deleting temp files, defragmenting, and making sure no unnecessary programs are running at startup. A faster computer means a faster game.
Secondly, whenever possible, avoid running through Hyrule field (or other large open areas) in the daytime. Unlike in other Zelda games, getting to nighttime might mean waiting around for a while, but if you have a lot to do in Hyrule field, such as catching Poes or bugs, the wait will be worth it and you’ll run around much faster without the harsher daylight graphics. If you don’t like waiting around, then strategize by taking advantage of the night whenever you find yourself in it. Use that time to take care of the “Hyrule field tasks.”